A's arrive in Japan for Opening Series
Will play two exhibitions before facing Mariners Wednesday
TOKYO -- Fresh off a 12-hour flight from Phoenix, a large contingent of blurry-eyed A's players and front-office personnel were awakened by a crowd of hundreds of photographers and fans awaiting their arrival at Narita International Airport around 5 p.m., local time, on Friday evening.
That was 1 a.m. PST, following the 16-hour time change, and traffic to The New Otani -- the A's home for the next week -- stalled their arrival at the hotel until after 3 a.m. PST. More fans greeted them there, before they were led away for a meal and advised to get to bed around 11 p.m. or midnight local time -- just as they would in the States, to help their internal clock adjust.
First up on the schedule is a workout planned for Saturday, which will be followed by a pair of exhibition games against the Hanshin Tigers and Yomiuri Giants Sunday and Monday.
The A's and Mariners then open the regular season with a two-game set on Wednesday and Thursday at the Tokyo Dome.
The Mariners arrived at The New Otani two hours later than the A's, who are enjoying their second trip to Japan in the past five years. However, Kurt Suzuki and Coco Crisp, who played for the opposing Red Sox in 2008, are the only players on the current trip who took part in the last one, making for quite the new experience for the rest of their teammates.
A total of 30 A's players are on the trip, with several of their wives and girlfriends also on board.